Saturday 20 October 2012

Marsden Grotto

Unless you knew it was there you could easily miss it. The only tell tale sign of what lies beneath the cliffs is a lift tower and entrance tunnel from a car park along the coast road at Marsden near South Shields. The post code to help you find the location is NE34 7BS.
There are two ways to access the establishment below. You can take the staircase from the car park or the lift. There is plenty of parking here so even in the summer months you should find a space easily enough. When you reach the pub below you will find yourself in something pretty unique.

The entire building is embedded in the cliff wall and the caves and walls of the cliff actually make up the space inside the building. This is one of the only cave bars in Europe and the restaurant inside the pub is actually housed in a cavern.

What makes this special is that it is located on the beach and you can walk straight out of the pub onto a shingle beach which has some magnificent views and some interesting and spectacular rock formations.

The pub was originally built by a local quarry man and developed further by a Peter Allan who extended the establishment further. Disputes over land ownership or the rights to the land caused Peter to sink into depression and he died in 1849 leaving his family to continue operating the business.

After several owners and periods of decay and rebuilding a lift was added and Tavistock, a local firm in the hospitality sector acquired the Grotto and refurbished it. The Roker Hotel is owned by the same company. The pub is now in the hands of Oxford Hotels and Inns.

The caves on this beach and tales of hauntings at the Grotto all add to the atmosphere and the mystery of the place. The website of the Marsden Grotto provides more information on the restaurant and the history of the establishment.

Photos of the Marsden Grotto and the beach


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